Does Saffron Work for Macular Degeneration?

By Anuroop Alberts

It's question that comes up more often than you think. Does saffron work for macular degeneration? As you probably know, saffron has been shown to potentially have a number of positive effects on your health. 

Macular degeneration is a particularly troubling event for people and it's natural one would look to see if something like saffron could help.

The answer, of course, is - maybe! Let's dig into it.

Our eyes are so integral that many of us would likely be lost without them, and miss out on a lot of life's beauty and experience.

So much of our lives may depend on our ability to see, which is why any condition that affects this from cataracts to glaucoma can have some pretty serious consequences.

One condition that can be especially troubling is Macular Degeneration. On a basic level, Macular Degeneration (as its name suggests) is essentially the deterioration of the macula, a section of the retina.

The retina, located at the back of your eyes, is what helps you detect light among other things. Therefore without it, you may experience some pretty serious visual impairment.

Macular Degeneration is often referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration since it seems to be most prevalent in individuals over 60 years of age, however there is also a more genetically based version known as Stargardt disease which can affect younger adults.

Macular Degeneration is also categorized into distinct types including dry and wet forms, both of which have distinguishable characteristics. With dry, one can expect yellow accumulations called drusen within the macula, and within wet, there could be an odd growth of blood vessels underneath the macula.

These could lead to potential blind spots in vision within the dry form, and distortions in vision from possible blood leakage in its wet form. While the dry form is also considered more common (85-90% of cases), it is perfectly possible for it to develop into the wet form which is considered worse in its visual impairment effect.

Unfortunately, not much is clear on the causes of this condition and it appears to be permanent with no current cure. While it does appear to be more prevalent in older adults, there currently isn’t a lot of information to suggest any potential sources.

Furthermore, the condition along with its side effects may increase with intensity as it develops with time. This, combined with the fact that it affects around 10 million Americans makes it a pretty serious condition.

With that in mind, you may wonder what someone would do when they are diagnosed. Even though there is no cure, there are some treatment options that can potentially help control the effect, some of which vary depending on the type and severity of Macular Degeneration.

General tips can include routine exercise and an appropriate diet, which is usually based on an individual’s needs and is generally good to do with or without visual conditions. There are however more specific options that those with Macular Degeneration can consider. These can include certain drugs, laser therapies, and vitamins.

Many of you may be familiar with how carrots are said to be good for one’s vision. For me, I was “encouraged” by my mom to eat my carrots, or go blind (I did want to be a pirate when I was younger, but I definitely preferred for the eyepatch to be a stylish addition rather than an actual necessity).

With regards to one’s diet, there are certain nutrients that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of Macular Degeneration, or slow its progress for people who already have it (this is at least true in its dry form).

For centuries, there have been certain foods regarded to be beneficial to our visual health. For example, Spanish explorers in the 16th century actually carried certain spices such as chili peppers to help with night vision.

Amazingly, spices such as chili peppers and saffron contain certain components including Vitamin C and Zinc, B6 and Carotenoids (which includes zeaxanthin), all of which are said to help those with Macular Degeneration.

Saffron coincidentally has also been linked in scientific studies to have a positive effect on those with depression.

Ultimately, anyone should consult with a doctor before considering responses to Macular Degeneration. With that in mind, it likely can’t hurt to include saffron in a diet for responding to it.

While saffron has never been scientifically linked to be beneficial for those with Macular Degeneration, its composition combined with its history in traditional medicine makes it a worthy contender for future use and future studies (and some pretty good jeweled rice).

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